This video and article are based on an editorial that first appeared in ZDNet.
CES 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the big show and as always TechRepublic and ZDNet will be covering it from all the angles that matter to businesses and professionals. We'll have articles, videos, and photo galleries across both sites all week. But as we head into this year's show, here are the four most important themes you should keep an eye on.
SEE: CES 2017: The Big Trends for Business (ZDNet and TechRepublic special report)
1. IoT will eclipse PCs and phones
After Comdex died, CES became a major showcase for new PCs. Tablets and smartphones later stole center stage at CES. But CES 2017 will be dominated by the Internet of Things—from drones, VR headsets, wearables, rideables, self-driving cars, smart home devices, and new things we never imagined we'd see at CES.
2. Self-driving cars will usher in the AI era
CES is where automakers talk about all the exciting new technologies they are integrating into cars. The biggest move of all, of course, is integrating AI to make the cars themselves. Think of autonomous vehicles as a harbinger of the kinds of AI-powered products we're likely to see a lot more of at the CESes of the future.
3. Wearables will re-emerge, all grown up
Wearable tech is poised to break out beyond me-too fitness bands and lackluster smart watches that have underwhelmed in the past at CES. The maturation of wearables will be seen in two important developments: the data services connecting them (which can even earn you discounts on your health insurance from some employers), and the migration beyond the wrist with a resurgence of smart glasses and even integration into clothing from companies like Under Armour.
4. Augmented reality will flex for professionals
Google Glass and Microsoft Hololens have whet our appetite for what's possible with augmented reality. The challenge for AR is that the look and feel needs to be a lot better than VR because these are devices you wear in public. CES 2017 will see unobtrusive new designs and powerful smart glasses with new capabilities. For AR to reach a broader audience of consumers and professionals, it will need a design that looks more and more like normal glasses and less like a science experiment.
Follow our CES coverage all week
That's a wrap on our predictions for CES 2017. Check back at the TechRepublic site, follow us on Twitter or Facebook, or subscribe to our Top Story of the Day newsletter for all the latest business stories from CES. Also, don't miss our joint special feature with ZDNet: CES 2017: The Big Trends for Business.
Jason Hiner has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Jason Hiner is Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.